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Can Omega-3s Help With Dry Eye?

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

A photo of Omega-3s caps

Can Omega-3s Help With Dry Eye?

Have you ever experienced a sandy or gritty sensation in your eyes? How about redness or intermittent blurred vision? It’s quite possible that you may have dry eye.

Dry eye is perhaps the most common condition affecting vision. It can develop across all age groups from children to adults, though is more common as people age. There are many other risk factors for dry eye, including sun and wind exposure, digital eye strain, and contact lens wear.

Just like treatment of dry skin is aimed at restoring moisture, treatment of dry eye typically begins with lubricating drops or ointments. In addition, studies suggest consuming omega-3 fatty acid supplements may also provide relief for dry eye.

Our eyelids contain tiny glands called meibomian glands, which produce the oily part of our tears. Inflammation of these meibomian glands is commonly found in dry eye. Omega-3 oils appear to reduce inflammation of these glands and improve their function.

The National Eye Institute notes that in some patients with dry eye, supplements or dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids (such as ground flax seeds or tuna fish) may decrease symptoms of irritation. A study of more than 32,000 women from the Women’s Health Study found those who consumed the most omega-3 fats from fish had a 17% lower risk of dry eye, compared with women who ate little or no seafood.

Though dry eye is complex with many possible contributing factors, it may be worth giving omega 3 fatty acids a try.  I usually recommend at least 2,000 to 2,500 mg daily and sometimes even more, depending on the severity of dry eye.

There are several pharmaceutical grade brands of omega 3 supplements which I trust and recommend to my patients. Though generally benign, omega-3 fatty acids can potentially increase the risk of bleeding, so make sure to talk to your eye doctor to find out whether omega-3 supplements are right for you.

If you have specific questions about your dry eye, I’d be happy speak with you. Schedule a complimentary phone consultation with me by clicking HERE or calling 646-820-2074.

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